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03 february 2017

The art of tea from Africa

The art of tea from Africa Cape and Cape PLUMEVOYAGE @plumevoyagemagazine © Françoise Spiekermeir

Text & photos Françoise Spiekermeier

The first exclusively African Tea House has opened in Paris: there is a palette of incredible flavors in the heart of a trendy Africa. Gervanne Leridon chose the Marais, just opposite the European House of Photography to open the first house in the world devoted exclusively to teas from Africa. Black teas, green teas, white teas, smoked teas, roïbos, about 80 references selected by her, during her travels on the continent, with the complicity of his African Tea Master.

Cape and Cape african teas are elegantly presented in an iron box of refined design inspired by the patterns of traditional fabrics, but especially in an original case: inaugurated last December, the colorful shop, animated by works of African artists is already the new rendez vous of trendy Africa in Paris. An invitation to travel to a Luxury Africa in full revolution.

As mini as it is, this tea room is no less a wide window open on African creativity: once we taste the tea of ​​the day offered on arrival, and chose its year in the incredible diversity of cultivated teas in Malawi, Tanzania and South Africa, the journey continues on the side of the table arts: , with her unique and passionate look, Gervanne has the gift of revealing to us the best of African creativity both in art and in the arts. Traditional know-how recycled in a contemporary language: “Africa can be arty, trendy, fashion, pop, funny! It is this Africa that I have at heart to present in my store, “exclaims Gervanne.

It’s not just tea. On a table set up behind 13th-century beams, one discovers trays by the Shine Shine brand made in South Africa, teapots or cups, cups of African porcelain – in white biscuit – with a handle in Animal form … on tablecloths signed by the textile designer Johanna Brambel, located between Paris and Senegal. “My will is to present different objects around tea and an art of the table to the African,” she continues. “In Africa, there are also creators, ancestral know-how and artisans who have the will to perpetuate them. These are products that meet exactly the definition of luxury according to the Comité Colbert: a product made from noble materials, a quality manufacturing and craftsmanship that makes this object precisely can be defined as a product of Luxury, without being expensive “.
All Gervanne’s approach is imbued with an ideal. This is why, in contact with small African producers of roobos, she is keen to convey to them the awareness of the uniqueness of their product and to help them set up a process of valorisation for a product perceived as ordinary because which has been consumed every day since childhood. “What interests me is to go find the small producers, the vintages, the terroirs … When they discover our boxes, they are happy. They see that their Roibos is also a luxury product, “she says. “I discovered the Roïbos tea one evening in the desert of the Kalahari … My husband and I are in love with Africa”. He, it is rather the African teas, she, the Roïbos … Together, in their love For Africa, they imagined launching a tea brand dedicated to Africa. “In a desire to discover for ourselves and to pass on to others our passion”.

When she does not run the plantations, Gervanne takes care of African Artists for Development, the NGO she created in 2009 based on her firm belief that the participation of artists in development projects guarantees their success. It is an original and radically new conception of humanitarian action. For example, the Refugees on the Move project, devised with a Chadian choreographer to restore confidence in refugees in semi-permanent camps through the practice of dance. “Projects set up with artists bring an extra soul: all of a sudden, refugees born in the camps can regain esteem. They adopt the project imbibe it and make it live after we left. It’s essential “. For Gervanne, artists are the best ambassadors of Africa today. She imagined Lumière d’Afrique, a large traveling exhibition of the works of 54 artists (as well as countries on the continent) on the theme of the radiance of Africa in the world. An extract was presented in November 2016 at AKAA, also known as Africa, the first fair of Contemporary Art and African Design in Paris and Dakar at the Theodore Monod Museum of IFAN in January 2017.
An African writer said that drinking a cup of robos means drinking a cup of liquid savanna. What a beautiful picture for a cup of tea without a cloud!

Cape and Cape House: 12 rue de Fourcy, 75004 Paris. Such. : 01 45 24 77 70
Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11:30 to 7:30. Closed on Mondays.
Also available for sale in about 50 addresses in the Paris region, among which, on the right bank, Lafayette Gourmet Hausmann and Grande Epicerie de Paris, on the left bank (addresses are available on the Cape and Cape website).


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